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Larson-Green spreads her skills

by on25 February 2014

Everything will be Metro at Microsoft

The brains behind Microsoft’s move to Metro, Julie Larson-Green is moving to a new job in charge of harmonizing the look and usability of all Redmond’s software.

While Larson-Green gained points for her design of Windows 7, she was also responsible for the less popular successor Windows 8. She had been promoted to run Microsoft's Devices and Studios group as part of former chief executive Steve Ballmer's sweeping reorganization of the company last July.

However, when Microsoft agreed to buy Nokia's handset unit only a few months later, Microsoft planned to put former Nokia boss Stephen Elop in charge of that group, with Larson-Green reporting to him. Elop is still set to take over that group when the Nokia deal is completed, expected in the next few weeks, but with the move Larson-Green is no longer set to report to him.

In an email, Larson-Green said that she will remain in the role leading the (Devices and Studios organisation in the interim until the Nokia deal closes and Stephen Elop makes his transition to Microsoft. The new job means Larson-Green, known for introducing the 'ribbon' bar to the Office suite of applications, returns to software-focused design after leading the Devices and Studios group which is cantered on hardware such as the Xbox game console and Surface tablet.

With it comes the rubbish title of Chief Experience Officer of the My Life & Work Team, which is part of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group, led by Qi Lu.

Larson-Green will lead efforts to ensure Microsoft's varied software has a harmonized interface across a range of devices, which has become a key function in the era of mobile computing, where a growing number of people use a wide variety of smartphones and tablets to work and play rather than a PC.

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